Sunday, February 28, 2016

Book Nerd Problems: When your book buying options are limited

I live in one of those towns that's small because it's stuck between two larger towns/small cities, and none of the retail outlets see much point in putting a store there. After all, why would you when people can just as easily drive to either of the two cities instead? Combine this with my lack of a driver's license (I neglected to allocate any skill points to Driving for the last seventeen times I've leveled up), and my options for buying books is quite limited.

That's not to say that there aren't bookstores in town. There are four used one and formerly, an indie. Alas, the owner of the indie was forced to downsize, close his store and relocate it to one of those community marketplaces. In other words, he went from a store to a booth. Ouch. To be honest, though, his store barely qualified as a bookstore. It was incredibly small and I'm pretty confident that I have more books on my two metal bookcases than in the entire store. Still, the owner would order books if he didn't carry it, so it was still worth going to for that. I don't suspect he'll be in business for much longer, sadly.

As for the four used bookstores, it's a very mixed bag. There's one near where I live, but the guy who runs it keeps irregular store hours and he charges more than retail for his paperbacks. I understand that used bookstores need to charge more than thrift store prices to survive, but charging nine or more dollars for a used paperback is a bit much, especially if it's not in good condition. I think he makes most of his money from his booth at a local antique mall in any case. Meanwhile, the other three stores are located downtown. Two of them seem to specialize in hardcovers and older editions, and their prices reflect that. Here, I'm not complaining because their prices are justified by their stock. Unfortunately, my book budget is small, so I can only ever peruse and not buy.

Fourth and last of the used bookstores is a new discovery I made about a month ago. Located on the same street as one of the two aforementioned stores, but further down than I normally go, the thing that attracted me to this place was the price: $3.50 for paperbacks and I believe $5.50 for hardcovers. I actually had to do a double take when I saw the sign because those prices are incredible. It's a very small shop, but it's filled with all kinds of books and believe me, had I the money, I would have walked away with a ton of books. Instead, I managed to (barely) restrain myself and made off with two, but I plan on returning again soon.

Of course, I have other local options for buying books, namely thrift stores. The problem there lies in selection. Since they're depended on donations, their stock is too hodgepodge and often lackluster. I can also visit the chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million in the two nearby cities, but the opportunities are limited due to personal reasons that I won't get into.

On the other hand, not being able to go to the big chain stores might be a good thing. I used to live in one of the two cities and I went to the B&N and BAM stores probably way too often and bought books that I ended up never reading and giving away. Still, I miss the ability to just walk into a bookstore and buy the book(s) I wanted.

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